It’s not unusual for artists to take inspiration from nature. From Van Gogh to Walt Disney we have attempted to re-create the forms we see all around us for centuries. Now, thanks to 3D printing, the worlds of art and architecture have met to help represent the abilities of nature in an entirely new way.
Created by architects Yu Lei and Xu Feng of Beijing’s Laboratory for Creative Design, the bizarre structure, which they call Vulcan, stands at an impressive 8 meters long and 3 meters high. Its name is derived from the idea that its shape resembles that of a volcanic eruption, but upon closer inspection the more prominent influence in this pavilion becomes clear. Silkworms, these tiny little creatures which are kept in cocoons in LCDs labs for study have aided in the creation of silk in the past. Inside the Vulcan the tiny filaments stretched along the ceiling of the pavilion are designed to mirror the insect’s web extrusions.
The pavilion and its two identical copies were on display at the Parkview Green, which hosted Design Week in China. The pavilions were also accompanied by models and performers who were adorned in 3D printed clothes and pieces. Yu Lei talks about the impact of the structures stating that “Vulcan represents a new reality – that modern architects are able to achieve their ideal design quality from concept to construction using digital design and fabrication methodologies,” said Lei. “This development will increasingly blur the boundaries between technology and art.” Much like the silkworms that it represents, Vulcan shows that design can be delicate and flexible, but also incredibly strong.